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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Opponents of planned subdivision in north Spokane County file lawsuit

Neighbors opposing a controversial subdivision in north Spokane County are taking their objections to court.

A group that calls itself Citizens Affirming Responsible Development filed the lawsuit last week in Spokane County Superior Court seeking to overturn a preliminary plat for 25 homes on five acres at 17714 N. Hatch Road.

Residents are concerned about the width of streets, a lack of sidewalks and an inadequate wetland buffer in the preliminary plat, said Jim Cooke, who lives next to the site.

In March, county Hearing Examiner Mike Dempsey approved the preliminary plat.

The developer is Landed Gentry Development Inc., of Burlington, Wash.

Dempsey is allowing the developer to use a private road that would be narrower than the county’s 2010 road standards, the lawsuit said.

The road would be as narrow as 24 feet in some places, and a “wye” turnaround would be substituted for the standard cul-de-sac, the lawsuit said.

“The hearing examiner erred in concluding that the preliminary plat, as conditioned, makes appropriate provisions for roads, sidewalks and pathways for children, and critical areas,” the lawsuit says.

Also, the preliminary plat fails to provide connections to other adjoining properties where residential development could occur, including land owned by Cooke.

The suit says the county’s comprehensive plan “promotes the linkage of developments with open space, parks, natural areas and street connections.”

The hearing examiner also is allowing a 75-foot buffer to a wetland on the property. The lawsuit argues that the buffer should be at least 100 feet under the county’s critical areas ordinance. The wetland is 22,000 square feet in size.

An application in 2008 to develop the property was ruled invalid last summer because the developer failed to meet deadlines for submitting approved plans.

The developer sued the county over the revocation of the application but has placed the suit on hold pending approval of the newer application.

Cooke said the county is making exceptions in the current application to avoid legal liability for Dempsey’s revocation of the application last summer.

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